Old Problems, New Challenges

On the future of teaching German as a national language


  • Eduard Haueis Heidelberg University of Education




teacher ducation, scientific foundation of L1 didactics, monolingual vs multilingual education, subject-related qualification vs didactic qualification of L1 teachers


Although comparative studies on L1 education are facing many new challenges today, two ‘old’ issues should not be forgotten: the professional qualification of teachers as part of their academic training, and elementary language education in primary schools. These issues need a theoretical foundation to make L1 education part of the professional practical knowledge of teachers.

In Germany, there is a gap between the subject-related qualification of prospective teachers on the one hand, and their didactic qualification for their professional field of action in schools on the other. What is perceived today as L1 German teaching from school year 1 to 12/13 goes back to two different traditions for which, until a few decades ago, educational institutions of varying prestige were responsible: the Volksschulen (elementary education for the lower classes) initially focusing on "mother-tongue" monolingualism, and the Latin schools (grammar schools for the higher classes) focusing on multilingual education, preparing for academic careers. It was not until the Weimar Constitution in 1919 that Germany also introduced academic qualifications for teachers in elementary education. However, also seminars, pedagogical academies, and colleges that focused on teaching didactics mainly, were established to circumvent university qualifications.

What was developed in the last third of the 20th century in the context of a scientific foundation for the didactics of L1 German has since fallen into oblivion. This contribution aims at presenting a critically reflected continuation of these developments.






How to Cite

Haueis, E. (2024). Old Problems, New Challenges: On the future of teaching German as a national language. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 24(2), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.21248/l1esll.2024.24.2.619